The Three Peaks Revisited: Settle to Ingleton Triangle (Part One)
Where on earth have you been? That has been the message from many far and wide. Almost two years since a post? What's going on? Well - I'm not dead - you'll be glad to know. I've been engaged in producing the Ingleborough Rocks website for the National Park, recovering from an annoying illness (bit by bit) and, after seeing my three fledglings flee the nest - wallowing in empty nest syndrome and all that goes with it, as well as looking after two elderly parents with their own problems. Such is life, but anyway - back to basics. This week I re-acquainted myself with the Three Peaks. Unable to do a monster walk - I eased back in gradually with a pensioner's type outing in the trusty brum brum round the 'triangle' that makes up the roads around Ingleborough. You know how it is ... I felt like a newcomer - so if you are on holiday up here in the good old north and experiencing your first peek at the big three, and the weather's naff - follow me on this adventure for your first mouthful of the Dales. If you enjoy it - you might even want to read my book 'A Three Peaks Up and Under' or even explore the rocky stuff on the Dales Rocks website ...
Where better to start than good old Settle? This is my favourite town in the whole of England. It has a maze of lovely passages and great architecture, as well as being surrounded by a landscape where meeting a T Rex would seem quite possible. The food at the Naked Man is worth a trip from the south coast - especially the Yorkshire puds. This, by the way, is the Town Hall, seen through the Naked Man window with a mouthful of millionaire's shortbread and a brew. George Webster of Kendall, its designer, must have been a clever bloke. It was built in 1832 when there was a bit of a gothic revival in Settle.
This is the finest building in Settle. The Folly - which was first introduced to me years ago by Mr Wainwright. Built in about 1675 - I bet it's 'wick' with ghostly goings on, as they say here in Lancashire, and I certainly wouldn't like to walk in there at midnight.
Albert Hill was renamed in Victorian times - probably linked to the exploration of Victoria and Albert caves after their discovery in 1838.
Peeping into the Shambles: not as famous as the York version, but every bit as fascinating. It was originally a market hall with barrel vaulted cellars, being built around the same time as the Folly. A slaughter house and many butchers' shops once occupied the building. Thankfully today's usage is much more pleasant.
The great rock of Castleberg dominates the town. Here, limestone downthrown by the Mid Craven Fault has had its covering layers of younger rocks removed by erosion, and the rock itself has been 'trimmed' off by glaciation to leave the stark object we see today. There are many climbing routes up it and the view from the top is sensational. I'll take you up in a later post as it deserves full attention.
This also deserves full attention - and usually gets it from me. The right hand side of the Naked Man was built as an inn - round about 1663. The figure on the wall above the door is not in fact 'in the altogether.' The name is believed to be a satire on men's clotthing styles of the period - when they were anything but naked and it might have taken an hour to undress - let alone have a wee!
The left hand section probably dates from the early 19th century. If you go in - get the gravy filled Yorkshire puddings. They are addictive. Not a good place if you want to lose weight. Go in before a walk - and not after. I've been known to fall asleep in here.
Whether dressed or not - he holds the date where he might have been expected to hold it in 1663. For those who like to pursue naked types - the Naked Woman is on a house in nearby Langcliffe, but if you go noseying don't mention it was me that sent you.
Beyond, on the left, we reach the wilds of North Ribblesdale and the 'basket of eggs' topography of the famous drumlin field.
These cute, smooth, asymmetircal hills with one long side and one blunt side - are always aligned along the axis of moving ice and are clearly associated with glaciers, but there are as many theories to how they formed as there are drumlins in England. I was always taught that sluggish ice bulldozed material over boulders, but ...
As we reach Ribblehead, we see the lower half of the beautiful Thorns Gill, flashing silver in the landscape.
Then the biggest of the three comes into view: Whernside, at 2419 feet. This view to me, in a car, usually means only one thing ...
Food! And at Ribblehead there is usually a brilliant bacon butty van - or plenty of nice brown grass if you're vegetarian. There's also the great view of the 24 arch viaduct, built in dreadful conditions in the late 19th century ...